Please Note | Our store, phone lines, and offices will be closed on Tuesday, February 7 for our annual company meeting. We will reopen on February 8.

How to Expand Flexibility In Your Bow Hand

When it comes to playing string instruments, flexibility training is key. However, most string players tend to focus on their right hand and leave their left hand, or bow hand, neglected. It is important to dedicate some of your practice time to bow hand flexibility in addition to working on note shifting and vibrato. A strong bow hand will be able to find the balance between structure and flexibility that allows you to play better notes with more ease.

Bow-hold Flexibility

person rubbing their hands

Developing flexibility in your bow hand is key to producing a rich, consistent sound. When you play, you don’t push your bow, you pull it. This means you put more weight on your pinkie for down bow, while shifting the weight to your index finger and thumb for up bow. Think of your fingers like a paintbrush—attempting to paint with stiff bristles will leave you with inferior coverage, so you want to make sure you’re prioritizing flexibility and motion in addition to strength.

Exercises to Start Today

There are some simple exercises you can begin today to build flexibility in your hand. Try to move your bow with only your fingers, keeping your arm and wrist still to increase your control and range of motion. You can also do “bow push ups” to improve flexibility and strength. Simply place a pencil on the fingers of your bow hand and bring the pencil into your palm by curving your fingers. Flexibility is crucial to mastering anything from simple scales to the hardest violin concertos, so it’s important to start developing that skill today.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

Learn More

JSI
Resources

Whether searching for a job, learning about the "Mozart Effect," looking for a summer music camp, or choosing the right instrument string, you need look no further.

Learn More

Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

Learn More

The
JSI Blog

Information and helpful articles about the music and instruments we love.

Learn More

JSI
media

Helpful "how to" videos and useful information about JSI and the products and services we offer.

Learn More